What Antonin Scalia’s Death May Mean for the ‘Fisher’ Affirmative-Action Case

The death of the longtime Supreme Court justice and conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia has widespread ramifications for American politics and policy. For higher education, the most immediately apparent consequence is for Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the landmark legal challenge to race-conscious admissions that is pending before the court.

A short history of the case: Abigail N. Fisher sued the university in 2008, asserrting she had been unfairly denied admission to the university …


Student Who Filmed Melissa Click Asks Lawmakers Not to Misuse His Video

Mark Schierbecker, the University of Missouri student who videotaped an assistant professor calling for “some muscle” to keep student journalists from filming a protest, has asked lawmakers to stop using his video, and the incident, as an excuse to cut the university’s budget, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.

On November 9 the assistant professor of communication, Melissa A. Click, demanded that student journalists keep away from a student protest over racial inequity on the Columbia campus, …


As Mount St. Mary’s Offers to Reinstate 2 Professors, Faculty Demands President Quit

[Last updated (2/12/2016, 7:23 p.m.) with comments from Ed Egan, one of the faculty members dismissed and then offered reinstatement.]

The president of Mount St. Mary’s University has reinstated the two faculty members who were fired for disloyalty this week, according to a statement from the institution on Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, the faculty of the troubled Maryland campus voted overwhelmingly to ask the university’s president to resign.

But one of the faculty members offered reinstatement…


Texas A&M Investigates Reports of Racial Slurs Against Visiting High-School Students

Texas A&M University at College Station is examining allegations that several students yelled racial slurs at a group of touring high-school students this week, reports The Dallas Morning News.

The incident reportedly began when a white woman approached the black high-school students to ask their opinion of her Confederate-flag earrings. A group of students then began to berate the visitors with racial obscenities and told them to “go back where you came from.”

“I am outraged and tremendously d…


10 Percent of Ursinus College Students Have the Same Mystery Illness

The number of students who have fallen ill at Ursinus College stands at a whopping 174 — roughly 10 percent of the small Pennsylvania institution’s enrollment. The college said in a statement on Thursday that it had closed its dining halls for inspection by the county health department and for cleaning, and is serving meals in a gymnasium.

College officials haven’t determined the cause of the illness, but students’ symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. The college said two students had been gi…


Wellesley College Names Its First Black President

Paula Johnson, a professor at Harvard Medical School, will be Wellesley College’s next president and its first black president, the Massachusetts institution announced on Thursday.

Dr. Johnson, who is chief of the medical school’s Division of Women’s Health and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will take office on July 1, according to a news release from Wellesley.

The announcement followed an eight-month search to find a successor for H. Kim Bottomly, who announced last spring that she wou…


Fraternity Releases Findings on Racist Chant by Oklahoma Chapter

The national office of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on Wednesday released the findings of an investigation into an incident last year at the University of Oklahoma that involved a racist chant sung by members of its chapter there.

Video of the chant, which gained national attention within hours of its release online, fueled twin conversations about race and the role of fraternities in modern student life. Oklahoma’s president, David L. Boren, quickly expelled the two students who were caug…


How a Rapper Twitter-Shamed a University Into Paying Him

How does a flagship university become the subject of a famous rapper’s Twitter rant? Book him for a speaking engagement, withhold $2,500 from his fee for not fulfilling his end of the deal … then wait.

That’s how the epic feud between Talib Kweli and the University of Utah began, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. After the institution said it was “hugely dissatisfied” and would not pay Mr. Kweli for his Martin Luther King Jr. Day appearance, the rapper took to Twitter, ranting against the univers…


Acknowledging ‘New Normal,’ Berkeley Announces Broad Plan to Shore Up Finances

Citing a “new normal” of diminished state funding, the University of California at Berkeley is launching a “strategic-planning process” aimed at shoring up its finances. In a message to the campus on Wednesday morning, the university’s chancellor, Nicholas B. Dirks, laid out several broad areas for change the university will consider.

Specifics about the “strategic-planning process” are scarce. What is clear, however, is the university’s harsh financial outlook. According to a financial summary …


Here’s a Snapshot of Online Learning in 2015

The Babson Survey Research Group released its last annual survey of the online-education landscape on Tuesday. You can read its report on the survey here, and below are some of its key findings:

  • The percentage of academic leaders who said online learning was critical to their institution’s mission dropped from 71 percent, in 2014 — the highest ever — to 63 percent.
  • The number of distance-education students increased at a slightly higher rate — 3.9 percent — from 2014 to 2015 than it did in …